Following Changi Airport Group Vice-President Poh Li San’s statement regarding her intention to contest in the next General Election (GE) under the People’s Action Party (PAP) banner, a handful of netizens have questioned her motives for doing so, with several of them pointing out her background as a Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) pilot and her speedy rise in her political party in under just one year. It is understood that Ms Poh is a Singapore Armed Forces scholarship awardee as well.
Ms Poh, who joined PAP’s Sembawang branch in Oct 2018 and is now serving as the deputy chairperson of the branch, was quoted by The Straits Times at the inaugural Women’s Festival 2019 at Kampung Admiralty on Sun (24 Mar) as saying that while it is currently too early to determine whether she will be fielded as a PAP candidate in the next GE, she will be “most honoured to do so”.
“At this moment, it is still uncertain and is really up to anybody’s guess”, said Ms Poh, adding: “Right now, I am focused on making sure that I do my job well, run my events well in Sembawang and contribute to the community.”
The majority of netizens in the comments on the ST post, however, are convinced that Ms Poh’s statement is a subtle indication that she was already “selected”, or at least “shortlisted”, as a PAP candidate for Sembawang GRC in the next GE:
Several netizens pointed out the speed at which she rose up the PAP ranks in the Sembawang branch, given that she was promoted to deputy chairperson in less than a year after joining the branch:
A couple of other netizens highlighted Ms Poh’s background in the RSAF, and expressed their concern regarding PAP’s pattern of selecting candidates from a military background in recent years:
A couple of netizens took the opportunity to poke humour at Ms Poh’s choice of political party, asking why she did not opt to join an opposition party instead:
One commenter, Teo Chek Meng, who claims to have worked alongside Ms Poh “as a fellow grassroots leader” however has showcased her military background, stating that such a background will enable her to “contribute to Parliament should she get elected”.
Mr Teo’s comment, however, was not well-received by other netizens:
Separately (as seen in the screenshot above), one particular netizen drew parallels between Ms Poh’s statement and that of President Halimah Yacob, prior to the latter contesting in the controversial 2017 Presidential Election, in which candidacy was reserved for Singaporeans of Malay ethnicity.
Prior to being elected – or “appointed” as many Singaporeans have argued – as the President of Singapore, Madam Halimah was a Member of Parliament for Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC under PAP. She was also the Speaker of Parliament.